The Seattle wireless carrier on Thursday announced that it signed up 1.3 million postpaid customers in the first quarter. That's more new customers than AT&T, Sprint and Verizon combined to attract during the same period.
The accomplishment is validation for Chief Executive John Legere, who has drastically changed how T-Mobile delivers services since assuming his post last year.
T-Mobile has stopped requiring customers to sign service contracts, launched free wireless plans for tablet owners and rolled out a program that allows customers to upgrade their devices every few months rather than the industry norm of every two years. T-Mobile's rivals have mimicked many of these strategies.
"A year ago I promised that we would bring change to what I called this arrogant U.S. wireless industry," Legere said in a statement. "We are delivering on that promise and our results reflect the growing customer revolution that we've ignited."
In perhaps its boldest move, T-Mobile earlier this year also began offering to pay the early termination fees for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint customers who switched to its service.
That strategy appears to have paid off, with T-Mobile now serving 49.1 million customers, up 44% from 34 million at this time last year. The company's revenue also saw strong growth, increasing 47% from a year earlier to $6.9 billion.
However, T-Mobile was not able to turn a profit. The carrier said it suffered a loss of $151 million in the three-month period ended March 31, compared with a $107-million profit for the same period a year ago.
That means that while T-Mobile is seeing rapid growth, strategies like its early termination fee program are probably not sustainable in the long run. Eventually T-Mobile will have to end those programs and find ways to keep customers and lure new ones without the help of outlandish promotions.